Yankee Institute Blog

Despite pension agreement, state still faces “relatively brutal” cost increase

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget chief told the appropriations committee Tuesday that, despite a pension agreement between the governor’s office and a group of state employee unions, Connecticut will face “a relatively brutal” increase in pension costs equal to 10 percent of the budget by 2023.

The pension deal would essentially refinance the existing pension payments by extending them through 2046 to make up for a $16.5 billion funding shortfall.

Connecticut lost 13,300 jobs since June

The latest jobs report from the Department of Labor shows that Connecticut lost an additional 1,700 jobs during the month of December, bringing the total number of jobs lost to 13,300 since June of this year. In the first half of 2016 Connecticut gained 11,300 jobs....

Gold Street realignment “substantially complete,” Hartford on the hook for $11 million

The repositioning of Gold Street was part of the $25 million Intermodal Triangle project to renovate Union Station, streamline bus transit service on the roads around Bushnell Park, and open up more pedestrian walkways. The project is funded through a $10 million federal transportation grant and an $11 million commitment from the city of Hartford as well. The remaining costs were acquired through several smaller grants.

New Haven labor unions take over Board of Alders in power struggle with Yale

In a concentrated campaign of spending and activism over the past several years, two powerful New Haven unions took control of the city’s Board of Alders. Now the Board’s activities, investigated by the New Haven Independent, are raising questions about whether some Alders are pursuing the unions’ interests over those of the city and its taxpayers.

Is Stamford the last big city standing?

Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury and Hartford all face mounting debt, pension and OPEB liabilities, coupled with high taxes, high rates of poverty and declining services, according to a forth-coming study entitled Connecticut’s Broken Cities.

However, Stamford remains the one major Connecticut city that does not qualify as a “distressed municipality.”

Towns find new ways to save on retiree health costs

Faced with mounting retiree healthcare costs, Connecticut towns are making changes to get out of the healthcare business altogether.

Matt Gallagan, town manager of South Windsor, said they no longer provide health benefits for retirees. Instead retirees can purchase a health plan through the town. South Windsor is one of several towns and cities that have moved away from providing long-term health benefits for their retirees.

As state grapples with pension liabilities, some towns and cities make their own paths

As Gov. Dannel Malloy and the state legislature grapples with rising costs from unfunded pension liabilities, some Connecticut cities and towns have managed to tackle their own pension problems head on.

Municipalities like Danbury, Norwalk, Stratford and South Windsor have switched from defined benefit retirement plans to 401(k) style plans and changing retiree healthcare packages to stem the long-term costs to the towns.

State Retirement Commission blocks towns from real pension reform

Welcome to the Connecticut Municipal Employee Retirement System (CMERS), a state-run pension plan for local public employees that’s a little like the Hotel California: Once you’re in, good luck getting out.

This state restriction on towns in CMERS stands in the way of reforms that would make retirement benefits for municipal employees safer and more sustainable – and it should be repealed.

Legislator mileage reimbursements for 2015

Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and the Hartford Courant have recently called attention to legislators using mileage reimbursement to increase their compensation and pad their pensions.

There were 251 working days in 2015. Legislators who received mileage reimbursement claimed anywhere from 1 to 245 trips from their hometown to the capitol. Yankee Institute obtained the mileage and reimbursement figures for all state senator and representatives through a Freedom of Information request.

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